Customer Lifecycle :
In our series on the new build property development customer life cycle, we look at the impact of digital and how technology is changing the customer buying experience. We break down the customer journey and describe each step and how it may be supported using technology whether it is acquired or developed.
Table of Contents
The “big day”
From a customer perspective the handover day / process is the culmination of several months / weeks of a buying process and the realisation of a key lifestage whether that is just to get onto the property ladder, have space to create a family, to retire or simply to invest. For buyers that are moving into the property, the process will have been a long emotional journey and so the handover process should be a point of celebration.
As developers know, handover is not the end of the journey for their relationship with the customer. It is the point where they can breathe a sigh of relief that the property has actually been sold.
Few developers can afford to take the stance that the property is sold so it’s simply a case of handing over the keys and signing a few more documents.
The perfect handover
You can read our view on the “Perfect handover” which provides a detailed checklist for developers to follow to make the handover process smooth and efficient. The key goal of this stage is to ensure the owner has all the information they need to manage their home so as to minimise support calls after the handover. Costs to support owners during the “snagging period” can be up to £8000 a year, this includes cost of repairs as well as time to manage the repairs or any questions.
Developers are all too familiar that owners rarely read the documentation that is provided to them, or even reference it when there is an issue or question. The main reason for that is convenience. It is far easier to pick up the phone to developers than to find the right documentation and look it up. However, it is possible to provide intelligent solutions, like Innova from AskHomey, that allow customers simply to query the question like they would on google. This way the results are more accurate than Google (because the search is narrowed to just your property documentation not the entire web, and results are without adverts) and faster than making a call to someone on a support desk who will also probably have to look up the information.
There is an increasing push to remove paper from handovers. Manufacturers are increasingly providing documentation online. The sale process documentation is being digitised to enable faster sales (See Home Buying Selling Groups initiative to improve sale transaction speeds). Sustainability pushes to reduce paper. We calculate that if all new property handovers were done digitally over 10,000 tree’s a year could be saved!
There are also significant benefits of digitisation to the developer than reducing environmental impact and slashing the cost and time of producing handover packs:
- Allow buyers to access and share property information securely from any device.
- Reduce production cost and times for handover information packs.
- Improve the efficiency of support staff by reducing incoming calls and emails.
- Easily distribute updates to information handed over.
- Improve workflows / communication with buyers and the site community.
“There is an increasing push to remove paper from handovers. Manufacturers are increasingly providing documentation online only.“
The “handover day”
A key part of the handover is handing over information, keys and providing a walkthrough of the property. As said previously, this is emotionally an important day for buyers so making this an informative and enjoyable experience is key.
Again our guide to the “perfect handover” identifies the information that should be provided to buyers to reduce unnecessary support calls. Aside from this, some of things that create the best impression for customers are:
- Housewarming gifts, anything from flowers, champagne and nice soaps in the bathroom, we’ve seen some very creative developers.
- Spare paints – providing spare paint for touch ups is very useful as it is difficult for scuffs to be avoided when moving furniture in.
- Spare keys – Providing enough copies for the family reduces the ong list of tasks the owner has to follow up once moved in.
- Video guide – either providing a pre-recorded walkthrough or allowing the owner to record the handover walkthrough is a great idea. A lot of information is provided to owners and it is easy for them to miss / forget, so being able to re-run any part of the handover is useful and reduces support calls.
- Maintenance guides – many warranty providers and some developers provide online maintenance guides which help owners trouble-shoot issues or just guide owners.
- A checklist of key things to remember – such as when to get boiler serviced or what cleaning materials to use on specific surfaces like kitchen worktops or floor tiles.
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